Laurens times it to perfection to claim honours in May Hill Stakes

Thu 14 Sep 2017

By staff

Laurens claimed a last-gasp victory in the William Hill May Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

Karl Burke's filly was a narrow winner on her racecourse debut at this venue in July before filling the runner-up spot in the Group Three Prix du Calvados at Deauville last month.

Stepping up to Group Two level on Town Moor, she was the 11-4 market leader in the hands of PJ McDonald, but it was not easy viewing for favourite-backers.

Laurens appeared to be caught a little flat-footed when Nyaleti upped the ante inside the final three furlongs and at that stage she looked booked for minor honours at best.

However, Burke's charge eventually found top gear and got up to beat course and distance winner Dark Rose Angel by a head, with Nyaleti the same distance away in third.

McDonald said: "That was brilliant. We've had so much faith in this filly from the start. Karl has done a brilliant job with her. She was showing a lot on the gallops earlier in the year and anybody could have got excited, but Karl had patience.

"Whatever this filly does this year, I can't wait to ride her next year when she's a three-year-old. She's going to be smashing. I've never ridden a Group One winner before, but I'd be shocked if this filly can't make up into one."

William Hill St. Leger Festival - Day Two - Doncaster Racecourse

Laurens edges ahead in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster

Burke was completing a double on the afternoon having landed the preceding nursery with Ellthea (8-1).

"She's a beautiful-natured filly with the looks, the class and the action," said the Leyburn-based trainer.

"We've thought a lot of her for a long time. She was an expensive yearling (£220,000) and you can see why now.

"It's a relief. John (Dance, owner) was nervous and would rather have gone for a Listed race and got that black type win into her, but there weren't too many opportunities and I persuaded him to come here."

The Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly and the Fillies' Mile at Ascot are possible options for later in the season, while Burke already has one eye on a return to France for a tilt at Classic glory next summer.

He added: "She's had a tough race today so we'll see if she runs again this year. She's not in the Prix Marcel Boussac. She could be supplemented. There is the Fillies' Mile, which gives her an extra week, so that's possible.

"There's a long way to go from now until next year and a lot can happen in a racehorse's life in a week, never mind six months. But if everything stays together and she's in one piece, then she's very useful."

He added: "Next year the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) will be perfect for her, as she qualifies for the French premiums. She's in all the Guineas, but the Diane is the target I've always had for her.

"She's the best filly I've had at this stage of her career and she can only get better, she's still very green."

Simon Crisford was delighted with the performance of the runner-up Dark Rose Angel.

He said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. I thought she put in a huge effort and she's now Group Two-placed. She's a very honest, straightforward filly.

"I thought half a furlong out we'd probably won it but I probably got over excited. We'll get her back, talk to the owner and make a plan."

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